Behind The Scenes

The musical flavor of Caribbean baseball on ESPN Deportes

Estado Sonora stadium in Hermosillo, Mexico. (ESPN)
The Caribbean World Series will be played in Hermosillo, Mexico at Estado Sonora Stadium, pictured above. (Credit: ESPN Deportes)

For the seventh consecutive year, ESPN Deportes will offer coverage of the Caribbean World Series (beginning today, 5:00 p.m. ET). Known as the best baseball tournament in Latin America, the event features winter league teams from the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela as they compete for the title.

[box color=red size=small align=right] ESPN2 Adds Caribbean Series Game in English: On Sunday, Feb. 3, ESPN2 will televise the Caribbean Series game between the Dominican Republic and Mexico in English beginning at 7 p.m. ET live from Hermosillo, Mexico. It marks the first time ESPN will carry part of the Serie del Caribe in the English language; ESPN Deportes has covered the event for the past seven years. ESPN commentator Jon Sciambi will handle the call with veteran analyst Candy Maldonado. Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Hanley Ramirez is among the notable stars slated to play in the game.[/box]

The Caribbean World Series is characterized by its Latino culture and flavors. For the past few years, ESPN producer Leo Landino has been able to add that flavor into ESPN Deportes’ coverage through music. Front Row spoke with him to learn more about the music elements of the coverage.

What is the plan for this year’s coverage of the Caribbean World Series?
On a musical level, we created a new single with Banda La Retadora called Hermosillo se prendió. The genre “Banda norteña” is originally from Sinaloa, but in Sonora it combines with the cumbia and Tex-Méx and this is the result.

How many songs have you produced for the network?
I have had the opportunity of working on 10 original music projects for baseball in ESPN and all of them have been created and produced by me along with renowned Hispanic music producers.

What influence does the music play in the baseball culture around the Caribbean? And in our coverage?
It has a very strong influence in our culture. Each sport has a different sound in Latin America. In the Caribbean, baseball is related to Salsa and we incorporate it in our broadcasts when highlighting Latin baseball players, which relates ESPN with its audience and that translates to more attention and ratings.

You have worked with many renowned musicians across Latin America. Name a few.
I have been blessed to work with people I admire such as Oscar D’Leon, Guaco, Luis Enrique, Prince Royce, “El Torito” Héctor Acosta, Fernando Villalona, Sergio Vargas, Gilberto Santa Rosa and Mermelada Bunch among others.

What has been your most memorable experience working with these artists?
The most memorable project was to work with the Superbanda de Venezuela Guaco, a legendary band that for more than 40 years has dominated the Venezuelan market which is also the No. 1 market in baseball.

For more details on ESPN Deportes coverage, click here.

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